My first car was quite possibly the finest piece of automotive technology to come out of Detroit since the AMC Pacer. Unfortunately, "The ultimate driving machine" was already taken or I'm sure it would have been Ford Motor Company's slogan for the 1972 Pinto.Yes this was the car I'd been dreaming of owning since my Hot Wheels and Matchbox days. From zero to sixty in two and a half days, this baby was built for the quarter mile.
The Pinto was to cars what spam is to gourmet cuisine. With its spacious and roomy interior you could easily fit two full sized Pygmies in the front and provided they were quadruple amputees there was room for two more in the back. This particular vehicle's best feature was not on the inside however, it was its paint job. Earl Shives would've been proud of the exquisite attention to detail shown when Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb broke out the ROLLER and PAINT BRUSH to give it its exterior beauty treatment. Ah what a site to behold it was, all covered in its dark blue crust. Talk about a chick magnet! Is it any wonder that I didn't have a lot of dates back then?
Alas it did have one redeeming quality...the stereo. It was bitchin', at least that the word I used to describe it back then. The hundred or so dollars I spent on this luxury easily doubled the value of the car. As the likes of Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Nazereth blasted through the speakers I could feel the testosterone surge through my body. I was invincible. I could beat anybody off the line now because I'm sitting behind the wheel of a ...oh crap, the songs over and I just realized I'm in a freaking Pinto. Arrrggggh!
Opening the hood could bring a man to tears and trust me I shed plenty of them while driving the original rolling turd. One night in particular I recall driving home when all of the sudden anything and everything that was electrical simply stopped working. No lights, no familiar sound when I tried to start it again and no stereo, (now this is serious). I'm no mechanic but I knew something was definitely awry when I got out and opened the hood. I was immediately greeted by the lovely aroma that you experience when standing too close to someone welding. That nasty cooked metal, burnt electrical, melted rubber stench that can only be topped by Petuly oil. After the smoke cleared I finally found the little gremlin (oops wrong car), as I was saying, I finally found the problem. There fused to the top of the radiator was my smoldering battery cable. Why you may ask was the cable routed in this matter? I simply say why not?
I honestly don't remember what ever became of that little blue bucket of bolts. I think maybe I drove it down to the 'wrong' side of town and left it running with the doors open while I went shopping. No that's not it. I recall that day now. When I came back outside it was still there with a note on it saying, "Please remove this thing, it's bringing down our property value."
It's funny, every once in a while I look in the paper at the classic car ads. It always the same, 56 Corvette, 65 Mustang, 34 Coupe...but not once have I seen a 72 Pinto.